1 of 9 courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
As fans finally get a chance to experience The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger's much-praised turn as the Joker, we took a look back at the many versions (from the creepy to the campy) of the Clown Prince of Crime.
2 of 9 courtesy DC Comics
Batman No. 1 (1940) The Joker made his first appearance in the premiere issue of the Batman series. His look was reportedly inspired by Conrad Veidt in The Man Who Laughs, and his antics as a criminal mastermind quickly made him Batman's chief nemesis.
3 of 9 courtesy DC Comics
Detective Comics No. 168 (February 1951)In the first Joker origin story, a criminal known as the Red Hood was dropped into a vat of chemicals when Batman thwarted his plans. He emerged with bleached skin, green hair and that legendary grin.
4 of 9 20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett Collection
Cesar Romero (Batman TV Series)Romero's Joker (complete with powdered mustache) was mostly out for laughs rather than true villainy. Surprisingly, his take wasn't much different from the comic books' tamer portrayal of the Joker in the '50s and '60s.
5 of 9 courtesy DC Comics
Batman No. 251 (Sept. 1973)"The Joker's Five Way Revenge" reestablished the Clown Prince of Crime as a homicidal nutjob with no qualms about creating mayhem. It also brought back a clearly more insane Joker who loved battling wits with Batman.
6 of 9 courtesy DC Comics
The Killing Joke (1988)This one-shot comic offers a different spin on the Red Hood origin, while also drawing a darker, pyschotic Joker who shoots Commissioner Gordon's daughter before kidnapping Gordon in an effort to break his sanity.
7 of 9 Warner Bros./Everett Collection
Jack Nicholson (Batman)Jack's spin as a sly, gentlemanly murderer definitely brought an edge to the character that had never been seen on-screen. Though dark, he was still plenty hammy, especially with his prosthetically enhanced grin.
8 of 9 Warner Bros. Animation
The Batman (Kids WB Animated Series)A departure from the look of the classic supervillain, this wild take on the Clown Prince takes its cues from the court jester seen on many of the Joker's cards. His love for evildoing is all the same, though.
9 of 9 courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)All the buzz for Dark Knight is focused squarely on Ledger's Joker, as it should be. His lip-licking, immoral creation is a fiend for anarchy and a true foil to Batman. Ledger owns every twisted ounce of the role.